Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

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The aftermath of Turkey's failed coup Categories: Turkey, Updates    

This Update deals with analysis of what happens now with Turkey - both domestically and in terms of its foreign relations - in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt on Friday. (A good general summary and backgrounder on the coup and its aftermath comes from American scholar Michael Rubin.)

Print edition
US Political Party Platforms Shift on Israel

US Political Party Platforms Shift on Israel Author: Aaron Torop Categories: America, Israel, Updates    

Every four years when the Democratic and Republican parties officially nominate their candidates for president, they also amend their platforms, the official party position on a wide range of issues. Even though the platforms are non-binding and do not directly affect US foreign policy, they do express the overall beliefs and goals of each party.

Egyptian FM in landmark visit to Israel/ Palestinian incentives for killing Jews Categories: Egypt, Israel, Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

This weekend saw a visit to Israel by Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. That may not ostensibly seem surprising given that Israel and Egypt have had full diplomatic relations for almost four decades, but in fact was a highly unusual step - the first such visit in nine years. As such it was a sign of the changing strategic environment and warming security ties between Jerusalem and Cairo - as the pieces in this Update discuss.

Noted and Quoted - July 2016 Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

Fairfax's Age and Sydney Morning Herald newspapers (June 10) ran a Washington Post report on the June 8 terror attack in Tel Aviv in which four Israelis were murdered in a café with the headline, "Deadly Shooting at mall opposite defence HQ."

The report itself merely stated that "the attacks occurred... near Israel's Defence Ministry" and made no suggestion that the assailants were trying to target the Defence Ministry, rather than the nearby Sarona market shopping complex that was the actual site of the attack.

Were the papers implying the attackers were seeking a military target and the violence was therefore not actually a terrorist attack?

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Biblio File: The Perils of Nation-building

Biblio File: The Perils of Nation-building Author: Douglas J. Feith Categories: America, Middle East    

Mr. Mandelbaum rightly notes that US attempts to foster democracy and free markets abroad were an important part of American foreign policy after the Cold War. And such attempts, time and again, fell short of their ambitious goals. He spurs readers to ask why societies are so hard to transform and when, if ever, the promotion of a moral value becomes a national interest. 

Bibi's travels

Bibi's travels Categories: Africa, Israel, Russia, Syria, Updates    

Today's Update looks at Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's historic trip to Africa, which is about to conclude. Whilst there, he visited, and met with the leaders of, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Rwanda. His first stop was Uganda, where he commemorated the famous 1976 Israeli rescue of the hostages from the country’s Entebbe airport. The operation was renamed Operation Yonatan, in honour of Mr. Netanyahu’s older brother, who led the operation and was killed there. More information is contained in Aaron Torop’s blog post here.

Israel's field of dreams
Israel's first Olympic Gold: Gal Friedman

Israel's field of dreams Author: Amotz Asa-El Categories: Israel    

Ever since the 1952 Helsinki Games, Israel has made sure to compete in the Olympics (except the widely boycotted 1980 games in Moscow), and its overall athletic pursuits have since developed in tandem with, and as an intriguing reflection of, the Jewish state's social evolution.

Uganda is Full of Surprises
PM Netanyahu and President Museveni in Uganda

Uganda is Full of Surprises Author: Aaron Torop Categories: Africa, Israel, Updates    

The first stop of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's widely anticipated trip to Africa was Uganda, where he commemorated the fortieth anniversary of Operation Yonatan.

Road to Reconciliation: Israel and Turkey

Road to Reconciliation: Israel and Turkey Categories: Egypt, International Security, Israel, Turkey, Updates    

Last week brought news that Israel and Turkey are set to restore full diplomatic ties, ending the six-year impasse that followed Israel's interception of the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has heralded the deal as "an agreement of strategic importance" that will improve stability in the region, but it may be too soon to start celebrating. 

Essay: Recognising Two Tragedies
Yemenite Jews evacuating to Israel

Essay: Recognising Two Tragedies Author: Edy Cohen Categories: Antisemitism, International Jewry, Israel, Middle East    

No one can deny the Palestinian refugee problem, but it is equally blind to deny the plight of the Jewish refugees. With the creation of the State of Israel and in the decades afterwards, hundreds of thousands of Jews who had lived peacefully in the Arab nations for centuries were expelled from their home countries. Having failed in 1948 to destroy the new State of Israel, Arab rulers took revenge on the Jews who lived in the nations they controlled. These Jews, faced with official persecution, mob violence, pogroms and the confiscation of their property, fled these countries, most of them to Israel. 

Behind the News- July 2016 Categories: Holocaust/ War Crimes, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Palestinians, Turkey, United Nations    

Israel has reportedly received an abundance of strategic information about Hamas' tunnel building operation, thanks to the June 14 defection of senior Hamas member Bassam Mahmoud Baraka with his family, as well as the arrest of a 17-year-old Gazan tunnel worker in May.

To combat the growing tunnel threat, Israel says it plans to build a concrete wall extending tens of metres underground around Gaza. The wall would cost NIS 2.2 billion (approx. A$760 million).

Asia Watch: Crossing a line Author: Michael Shannon Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism    

The Islamic month of Ramadan is meant to be a period of physical sacrifice (fasting) in order to achieve deeper religiosity, but all too often it highlights excess. Indonesia and Malaysia may be far from Islam's Middle Eastern heartland, but are increasingly subject to its influences.

Print edition
AIJAC Condemns Mosque Attacks

AIJAC Condemns Mosque Attacks Categories: Australasia, Media Releases    

Every Australian should be alarmed by the two recent anti-Islamic hate crimes near Perth. These deplorable incidents included the firebombing of a vehicle and spray-painting vile graffiti outside a mosque at an Islamic school and the placement of a pig's head outside another mosque.

Israel's Missile Defence Race

Israel's Missile Defence Race Author: Rachel Kaye Categories: Israel    

The newest component of Israel's active defence network - the David's Sling Weapons System - has been delivered to the Israeli Air Force ahead of full deployment later this year. David's Sling will act as a middle tier within Israel's multi-layer missile defence network, operating above the Iron Dome system and below the Arrow-2 (and, ultimately, the Arrow-3, which looks likely to commence operations by the end of 2016).

Deconstruction Zone: After Orlando
Orlando killer Omar Mateen

Deconstruction Zone: After Orlando Author: David Harris Categories: Islamic Extremism, Terrorism    

As the horrific events in Orlando unfolded on June 12, all Americans of good will reacted with horror and dismay... once again, we have witnessed a horrendous terrorist attack motivated, in part or in whole, by radical Islamic ideology. The killer was known to the FBI, and made clear his sympathy for Islamic State.

Analysing the deal to normalise Turkish-Israeli relations

Analysing the deal to normalise Turkish-Israeli relations Categories: Israel, Turkey, Updates    

Today's Update looks at the significance of the deal announced between Israel and Turkey to re-establish full diplomatic relations which have been in the doldrums since the deaths of Turkish citizens in the Mavi Marmara naval incident in 2010 when a flotilla tried to breach Israel's naval blockade of Gaza and Israeli commandos enforcing it were violently attacked.

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The Last Word: Family ties
Judaica on display in Kaifeng

The Last Word: Family ties Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: China, Interfaith Dialogue, International Jewry, Israel    

It was mid-afternoon, mid-Ramadan. Other than one sleeping traveller, and a handful of workers, the mosque complex in Kaifeng, Central China, was deserted. It was an eerily quiet place in an otherwise bustling, noisy city.

I had come to the mosque with an energetic, enthusiastic member of one of the Jewish families which had thrived in that city for centuries.

The Kaifeng synagogue, which had served a community tracing its roots to the first millennia CE, had been destroyed by floodwaters nearly two centuries ago.

Europa Europa: Paris' unintended consequences

Europa Europa: Paris' unintended consequences Author: Douglas Davis Categories: Europe, Israel, Palestinians    

Pity Francois Hollande. The French President's country is beset by terrorism, his overseas military missions - in Libya, Mali and Syria - are in tatters, his labour unions are in full revolt, while his personal popularity ratings are at a record low of 13%. How to placate his domestic Muslim population, divert attention from his rioting workers, burnish his own diminished standing and restore la gloire de la France? As the floodwaters of the Seine threatened to drown the French capital and ISIS promised to wreck the Euro 2016 football tournament, the answer became obvious: convene a Middle East peace conference. And then compound the charade by not inviting the major protagonists, Israel and the Palestinians.